Local Church Leaders Sign Letter Of Support For Muslim Students

Local church leaders in the State College area penned an open letter to the Penn State Muslim Students Association and the Islamic Society of Central Pennsylvania. The letter includes a form to co-sign in support of the message, and the long list of supporters includes Jim Rosenberger, president of the State College Borough Council.

The authors of the letter say that it is in response to xenophobic comments from Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., who told his student body to arm themselves against Muslims.

“As people of faith, we categorically denounce and reject these comments as evil and as directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible and Jesus,” the letter reads. “We are so sorry that these people have ignored or twisted Christian scripture into supporting these hateful positions.”

You can co-sign the letter here. The full letter is pasted below:

Dear Friends,

Peace السلام

We are so glad you are part of the community in State College and at Penn State. Your happiness, safety, and well-being are very important to us.

We are writing this letter to you in light of recent comments including those by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump about halting Muslim immigration into the United States, and the words of Jerry Falwell, Jr., encouraging students at Liberty University to arm themselves against Muslims.

As people of faith, we categorically denounce and reject these comments as evil and as directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible and Jesus. We are so sorry that these people have ignored or twisted Christian scripture into supporting these hateful positions.

Our shared Scriptural tradition teaches us over and over again that God loves and welcomes all people, and that we must do the same (Exodus 22:21, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Deuteronomy 24:17-18, Psalm 146:9, Jeremiah 7:5-7, Zechariah 7:8-10, Matthew 25:31-36, and many others).

Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote, “Hate has no place in the house of God…[this] hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.”  We commit to standing against hate and striving for reconciliation, and we call on others to join us in this holy task.

Our homes, churches, and hearts are open to you to study, meet, pray, and grow together. We wish only that you continue to learn and prosper here in State College. And we will do whatever we can to love you and support your life in this community.

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About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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